Gov. Patterson Loves Red String (and Jewish Guilt)

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If you live in New York, you probably know about this already, but Governor Patterson has started wearing a red string, a kabbalistic protection which is believed to ward off demons and evil. The New York Daily News quotes Patterson’s spokesman: “It was explained to the governor that the red string is a symbol of protection [that] wards off problems and tribulations…His attitude was that he’ll take all the help he can get.” However, the spokesman was quick to point out that our governor is neither a Jew nor a kabbalah aficionado: ““Kabbalah didn’t change his life, just to be clear here,” he said.

gov patterson kabbalah string

The article notes other celebrities who wore red-string bracelets at some point in their lives: Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez wore one when he was being investigated for steroid use. Roseanne wore one when her career was in a tailspin (although, in hindsight, maybe it would’ve been more useful when she was dressing up as Hitler last year).

What’s the moral here? On the surface, that famous people turn to religion — or, specifically, Judaism (or, okay — to an overpriced kabbalistic totem of Judaism) — in times of need. Which is about par for the course, on the same level as the rest of us. Granted, most of us don’t get in drug scandals/massive alleged tampering with the judicial system/alleged money laundering…but we’ve all got problems. And those are the times when we start grasping at straws, hoping that anything works. Even the stuff, like Judaism, that some of us have been into all along.

(Thanks to Frum Satire for the nudge.)

Posted on July 15, 2010

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